Spatializing Foreigners in China: From Ethnic Clusterization to Cosmopolitan Enclavement?
(The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Paper short abstract:
This paper approaches the concept of cosmopolitan enclavement from the prism of urban Chinese society. It compares two antipodal neighborhoods addressing the relevance of spatiality and boundarization practices in the renegotiation of cosmopolitanism, transnationality, and stranger-ness.
Paper long abstract:
This research looks at China as a country of immigration; a phenomenon restarted around twenty years ago after a long hiatus. Until recently this migration movement continued to grow, an inflow of foreigners never seen before in the country's history as destination for migration, layering visibly on the urban texture. In China, foreigners tend to cluster in particular provinces and cities, and in those cities, they tend to cluster in particular areas. In Guangzhou, foreigners are following apparently clear-cut clusterization patterns: this paper is an ethnographic comparison of two of these foreign neighborhoods. One neighborhood is Liede, where mostly white wealthy westerners cluster with middle-class locals; the other neighborhood is Xiaobei, where black mostly from the African continent connive with internal migrants and religious minorities. Firstly, this paper will theoretically engage with previous literature on ethnic enclaves, discussing the possibility of foreign enclaves in the Chinese territory, and discuss the meanings of cosmopolitanism in China, as well as its discrepancies. Secondly, it will present a spatial analysis of the two enclaves, linking the differential proxemics and some of the practices of (self-)boundarization, showing how within a few kilometers different two antipodal types of enclavement can be found, and their social and political responses. Believing that a comparison could be an interesting lens to show differential tensions and paradoxes at work even in a single city, the case of China would broaden the spectrum of ongoing processes of cosmopolitan enclavement.
Cosmopolitan enclaves: tensions and paradoxes